HC Deb 29 November 1949 vol 470 cc932-3
26. Mr. Awbery

asked the Minister of National Insurance if he is aware that workmen who sustained accidents prior to the Industrial Injuries Act, are still paid compensation under the Workmen's Compensation Act; and if he will take steps to discuss with the insurance companies concerned the transfer of these men to the new scheme in order to bring about uniformity of payments to injured workmen.

Mr. J. Griffiths

I have had discussions with both sides of industry on this matter, but regret that I am not yet in a position to make a statement.

Mr. Awbery

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the Industrial Injuries Act has had the effect of dividing injured workmen into two classes? Will he consult with employers and the insurance society, with a view to bringing about uniformity?

Mr. Griffiths

I have for some time been having discussions with employers and trade unions, and they are continuing. I would remind my hon. Friend that men injured and receiving payments under the Workmen's Compensation Act are entitled to benefits under the Industrial Injuries Act and the National Insurance Act, and that large numbers are receiving benefits.

Mr. Sydney Silverman

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there are many old cases of workmen's compensation where the benefits payable under the Workmen's Compensation Act are, for one reason or another, very much higher than those which are paid under the Industrial injuries Act? Can he assure the House that no man who is entitled to these benefits will have his benefits reduced without his own consent?

Mr. Griffiths

That is one of the things we shall have to consider.

Mr. Tom Brown

Can my right hon. Friend tell us what is the obstacle to making progress in this direction? He promised the House 12 months ago that he would consider the question of the pre-1924 cases being brought into the new scheme.

Mr. Griffiths

In a pre-1924 case, if a man is totally disabled he receives an unemployability supplement under the Industrial Injuries Act. Discussions are continuing, but this is a difficult matter which must be settled satisfactorily to both sides.

Mr. Brown

Does my right hon. Friend expect the global sum he mentioned earlier to be agreed upon within the next two or three months?

Mr. Griffiths

I cannot promise that. As I have said, discussions are still going on; no one is holding them up. We are all doing our best to find a solution, and I will let the House know as soon as the discussions have concluded.